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>> live for three hours starting at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv. >> and now to london for prime minister's question time live from the british house of commons. every wednesday while parliament is in session prime minister david cameron takes questions
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from members of the house of commons. prior to question time the house is wrapping up other business. this is live coverage on c-spa c-span2. >> as i said, we are all concerned of our youth unemployment but it is a matter for the lord, not us because we have the ball that responsibly. it is a rising tide of a good economic recovery that will bring work to young people. if i might just quote the chief executive and belfast who said we are quietly optimistic about economy improving the sugar it will take months if not years to filter to young people. that's what we want is happening. >> my honorable friend will be aware next week is the beginning of national apprenticeship week. >> here, here.
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>> what steps is he taking to promote this to encourage employment of young people? >> as i've said to the house, this is a default matter but it is a high-tech an excellent job coming forward which will have apprenticeships which we appla applaud. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. the secretary of state will be a friend -- will be aware, he visited the secret garden project employing young people with learning disabilities. they face redundancy. will the secretary of state reconsider her decision not to compensate the charity for the 400,000-pound investment they made on approving and ask royal palaces to consider retaining involvement? >> well, we all outlawed any work with people with learning disabilities. of course, we do. however, that does not mean this is the best way people can be served by charity and hills break which would actually
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diminish the opportunity to start royal palaces to look after the council. i have to say i question the 400,000-pound figure mentioned anything we should go back and look at accounts more carefully. >> order. question for the prime minister. >> question number one, mr. speaker,. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, this morning i had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in addition to my duties in this house, i shall have further such meetings later today. >> graham morris. >> i think we should also congratulate the tremendous success -- [inaudible] mr. speaker, this week hsbc announced the bonuses of 2.3 billion pounds and 140% pay rise to his chief executive. when ordinary families face the cost of in crisis and so many young people languish, is it the time for this government to listen to labour and fight the
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bonuses and get our young people back to work? >> let me join him in congratulating team tv for the best metal performance since 1924 at a waitress game. it was a huge honor to welcome them to downing street where i had an explanation of the task of skeleton bobsled and, indeed, curling by think our congratulations go to ago involved. on the issue of bank bonuses, they are well down from the appalling situation that was left by the last labour government. what we need to see is proper control of all forms of pay, pay and bonuses. what i don't want to see and what i think we get from the party opposite is focusing only on bonuses because of course you can claw back a bonus. you can't claw back pay and we don't want to go back to the days of fred goodwin where you could be paid well for an appalling performance. >> does the prime minister
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recognized part of his job is to challenge governments about poverty? but will he discuss measures which will help people out of poverty like cutting tax on low pay, like helping troubled families? because there's nothing particularly moral about borrowing even more borrowed money come a system which can trap people in poverty. >> i think my right honorable friend is distinguished churchmen himself. talks perfect sense. there's nothing moral about running up huge deficits, about out of control welfare bills. if we don't deal with these problems the whole country will be poor. i think we should listen to the words of george carey, the former archbishop of canterbury who said this. the churches should be aware of the dangers of blindly defending a gargantuan welfare budget that increases politician would cut as a matter of economic common
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sense. i think serious politicians have to engage in this and that should go for everybody. >> ed miliband. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, i join my honorable friend and the prime minister in congratulating team gb on a brilliant performance at the window limits but as the threat of floods passes there's thousands out of their homes. some are still underwater and hundreds of businesses and farms are still struggling to recover. the committee on climate change, the house of commons library and the uk statistical authority have all now said that government investment and flood defenses has fallen. in the light of this an event we have seen, does the prime minister think it's right to revisit the plan for investment and flood defense? >> we will look very carefully at the plan for flood defenses but, of course, without spending figures all the way out to 2020, not all of which are fully committed which are major investments in budget defenses but i said two weeks ago as the waters reside and as a bea and others can look at what happened, we can review and see
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what new measures might be necessary. let me just repeat the point that in his four-year period and, indeed, in this parliament overall spending on flood defense has gone up. >> mr. speaker, i'm afraid the figures the primus is quoting are phony and i believe he knows this. [shouting] this is what the uk -- this is what the uk statistical process i know they don't want to hear. they say this, government funding for flood defenses were lower in both nominal and real terms during the current period than since the last. the only way you claim otherwise is by ignoring inflation and claiming credit for the money that other organizations other than government spent. why doesn't the prime minister admit it? they cut flood defense spending and he has been caught out. >> the fact is if you take a period of 2010 when i became prime minister to 2014, the spending has been 2.4 billion
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more than the 2.2 billion in the previous four years. easy take the five year period of this parliament, all of which during which i will be prime minister, the spending is higher than the previous five years. those are the facts. i have to say to him, i think having this debate is pointless. the whole country should be coming together to deal with flood defenses. and the fact is from the moment he turned up in a flooded house with a labour candidate alongside him, he completely misjudged the mood of the country. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, first -- [shouting] first of all let me say to him that it is a simple choice between the uk statistical authority and him. people will believe the uk statistical 40. and now the assessment of how much to invest in flood defense depend significantly on your assessment of the risks posed by
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man-made climate change. he said in opposition about climate change this. it's easy to do the sorts of things like ride your bike, visit -- rebuild your house to make a green. but it's only clear you mean it when you do the tough things as well, like telling the truth about climate change. so mr. speaker, what is the truth about climate change? >> the truth about climate change is that this government has a program to reduce carbon right across our economy. we started with the government itself, compared with the government he left in 2010 when he was climate change secretary, the governments own carbon emissions are down 14%. but the point, return to this is your flood defense spending because i think the people of this country will want to know this. he is committed to a zero-based spending review. yes, we are, says the shadow chancellor in an unusual helpful
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intervention. that means that a zero-based spending review means they cannot pledged to match the flood spending we are making in 2016, 2017, 2018 or all the way to 2020. they have no guarantee for the people of this country they will take either climate change seriously or flood defenses seriously. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, a total nonsense and he knows it. now, very interesting, very interesting because someone who in opposition wanted to talk as much as he could about climate change, now he is desperate to get all the subject. i asked him a question. will he just sat out for his party and for the country is views about man-made climate change speak was i believe man-made climate change is one of those searches threats that this country and this world faces. and that is why we have the world's first green investment bank here in britain. that is why, unlike 13 wasted
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use of labour, we are building the first nuclear power station for 30 years in our country. that is why we have cut carbon emissions in needed by the government by 14% since we came to office. that is why we've set out year after year carbon budgets in this country. they talk a good game about it but it takes people to come in, govern effectively and deal with it. [shouting] >> ed miliband. >> excellent, excellent. we are getting somewhere. i agree with what he said about the climate change. [shouting] him but the reason this matters, the reason this matters is because there are people in the most important positions in his government going around questioning climate change. this is what the environment secretary said, and i quote, people get very emotional about this. people should just accept the climate has been changing for century. he refuses to be briefed on climate change. the energy minister when asked about climate change said this
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-- you're not going to draw me on that. i haven't had time to get into the climate change debate. [laughter] he is the energy minister, mr. speaker. will he clarify? is a habit of climate change deniers in this government? >> this is a new approach to prime minister's questions. you come to the house of commons and praise the prime minister for his commitment to climate change. [shouting] i like the new style but i thought -- i think this is much more refreshing. this government has a solid track record of cutting carbon, negotiating internationally, to of investing in nuclear, the biggest renewable energy program that we've seen in our countries history. for the first time in a long, we are on track to meet up renewable target. perhaps he would like to get up again and congratulate me for this excellent record on the environment. [shouting]
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>> the whole country will have heard he cannot answer the question about whether, about whether you need to believe in man-made climate change to be part of his government. he's gone from thinking it was a basic part of his credo to be a matter of individual conscience. it used to be the thing he claimed was his passion above all else. and here's the thing. if we could topple -- >> order, order. the questions and the answers will be heard however long it takes. so those are exercising their vocal chords in a rather excessive weight really ought to calm down. quite a long way to go. ed miliband. >> if we're going to properly protect the british people against the threats they face can we cannot have doubt and confusion in his government on the issue of climate change. doesn't he need to rediscover the current of his past conviction until his party to get real on climate change? >> you can measure the current
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of the conviction by the acting government. the green investment banks, the cuts in carbon, investment in renewables, investment in nuclear. he talks a good game but he actually didn't achieve anything when he was in office. and mr. speaker, the most serious form of denial we have today in british politics is the reality denial of the party opposite. what is their plan for the deficit? nothing. plan for welfare reform? nothing. plan for long-term investment? because that is what climate change requires. long-term investment like high-speed rail, long-term investment like nuclear power. long term investment like fixing our economy. that is what this government is doing. all he does is get up and deliver a lot of hot air. [shouting] >> number three. >> can ask my right honorable friend, public concern at work with you to get advice from the whistleblowing commission report
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-- tim mckenzie with you to bring together people in government who could consider the recommendations and how we can stop people like dr. kim hold being persecuted, and others which i won't mention now? >> i'm grateful for my honorable friends question. as he knows the public interest disclosure act of 1980 protection to most workers are being unfairly dismissed by their employer when they reported a matter of concern when you blow the whistle. we've strengthened the protections for the enterprise and regulatory reform act 2013 but we will always back whistleblowers when challenging for standards, particularly in large organizations but i'm happy to make sure he discusses with the relevant government, any for the steps we need to take in this direction. >> does the prime minister get the depth of the hurt among victims families and a deep sense of public outrage right across the country as a result of the outcome of the downing
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case? he needs to understand is that for an official letter, a letter signed by an official to trump the courts of this land without any parliament legislated or statutory underpinning is deeply offensive to the public in this country? won't be no -- [inaudible] immediateimmediate ly? will do everything in his power to reverse the despicable decision in the downey case so justice can be done for the families? >> first of all let me say i completely understand the depth of anger and concern the people will feel right across this country about the appalling events that happened in 1982, and the fact that the person responsible is now not going to be a properly tried. of course, that's actually shocking. our first thought should be with those 11 soldiers and their families and friends. admit happened 32 years ago but anyone who has lost someone in a
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situation like that will more than today as if it happened yesterday. we should be clear that men should never have received the letter that he received. it was a dreadful mistake and the mistake that we now need to a rapid factual review to make sure this cannot happen again. but whatever happens we have to stick to the principle that we are country and the government under the rule of law. >> thank you, mr. speaker. my right honorable friend has taken swift action to flooded communities and i welcome a 10 million pounds relief fund for flood for farmers. of farmland -- from environment agency scaremongering to reduce land and close pumping station. in light of recent events can my friend reassured the growers in my constituency that the necessary protection will be given to their land and as loading them to react swiftly, this government is planning for
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the long-term security of this profitable industry? >> i think my honorable friend makes an important point. i'm glad that she is advertising to her constituents the ability of this fund would help will be useful for those of lost productive time because they have been underwate under watero long. the point she makes about farmers and landowners and others been nervous about dredging and draining their land because of the a rose is a good one but as i said before i think the pendulum swung too far against dredging and 92 change and that will change. it is not the only answer all the whole answer to the problems she discusses but it does have a proper part in managing the landscape. >> mr. speaker, the tragic death on the burning in the streets of sarah child's devastated her family and shock to the community. a much loved sister and daughter, she was killed and her sister, claire, pregnant, was
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severely injured by a speeding driver doing 64 miles per hour who got four years in prison. does the prime minister agree that the time has come to look again at the sentencing of those who killed with a car? >> first of all my heart goes out to his constituent and the family of the constituent who tragically was killed in this incident. i do think it's right to look again at the motoring offenses and penalties that are given. i discussed this issue with the second of state for justice who has already made some proposals and changes in this area and i'm sure he would listen carefully to what the audible gentleman has said. >> the response of -- [inaudible] is the prime minister astounded as i am that nhs wales thinks the chief medical director of england and now the royal college of surgeons are not
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legitimate? will he work with a leader of the opposition to try to persuade his to get his party in wales to reverse the trouble decision and do an investigation to save lives of? >> i think the honorable lady makes a very important point. you should be respected and listened to by the nhs in wales and i particularly think the point she makes about the royal college of surgeons and what they said today, what they're saying effectively as there are people on nhs waiting list who are dying in with a waiting list is too long because the nhs isn't improperly managed, funded or reform in once. that is a matter for the labour welsh assembly government and they need to get their act together. >> thank you, mr. speaker. will be prime minister except the overwhelming humanitarian case for guaranteeing long-term support to victims and survivors of terrorism? and if so, will he agree to meet
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with me and others and survivors of the 77 london bombings of have benefited from the services of survivors for piece program which is now faced with imminent closure? and in doing so will he remember his pledge that survivors of care risen must know that they always have the support of the whole country? >> first of all kind of commend the right honorable lady for the extraordinary work that she did in government and continues to do in opposition in helping the survivors of terrorist attacks, particularly the dreadful attacks that took place in london. i've seen it firsthand, the experience and the brilliant touch that she brings to this important work. i'm very happy to have the meeting that she discussed. in terms of the survivors for piece foundation i is a unique charity to get those extra job in supporting victims and
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families to apple will discuss his future with the audible lady as well. we want to make sure that all these institutions can continue their excellent work and i'm happy to all those discussions with her and as i said with my honorable friend. >> we all want to see a more balanced economy. does the prime minister agree that today's upward rise in business investment over 9% shows british business, entrepreneurs are really rising with talent? >> i think my honorable friend makes an important point. right across this house and many experts have been saying what we need is a balanced recovery, one that sees increases in exports as those increases in consumption, one that sees increases in investment from business and the upgrading of the figures today, the gdp figures showing an increase in exports, and a very large increase in business investment is hugely welcomed for our
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country. >> given yesterday's revelations of the secret scheme does the prime minister believe that the parties in northern ireland progress and the elements even with the past that there is a need for transparency from the two governments regarding the confused and shabby ways in which they sought to do with the past since the agreement, remembering that downing street was involved in this matter? >> well first of all i agree with her that the talks making good progress but they're trying to do with some of the difficult issues in northern ireland in terms of flags and parades and perhaps the most difficult issue of all the past but it's going to take a lot of courage and bravery from people on all sides in order to make progress in this way. she wants to point the finger apparently taken at downing street. i would argue that when it comes to dealing with things like the bloody sunday inquiry, even with the report, the downing street
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is habitable its role in helping to bring parties together and make sure we continue with piece in northern ireland. >> mr. speaker, given what the prime minister is called the leader of the opposition's new approach and chancellor angela merkel's forthcoming visit to mark, is this something we can learn from her about needing broader-based approaches to coalition building which would unite the country? because while it's true under such circumstances he would have to get some red meat to them and some red meat to us, it would have a huge advantage for all of us of leaving the liberal democrats where they belong. [laughter] >> my admiration, my admiration to angela merkel is enormous but there are many things she has achieved that i would like to copy, not least getting reelected. [laughter] but one thing i do not want to copy is i think the idea of a grand coalition is a bit too much for me. >> thank you, mr. speaker.
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what steps will the prime minister and government take -- to assist the national crime agency? can he give an assurance that those involved in criminology in northern ireland were not get a letter, that is their passport for freedom? >> i think the honorable gentleman makes an important one. i have been very impressed by the work the national crime agency is doing. i think it's a huge improvement on its predecessor but i think it's got real strength in numbers in terms of being able to tackle organized crime and i think it is bad for northern ireland that the mca is not able to properly operate. i hope over time with talks between the parties it will be possible to make progress, good for northern ireland and good for our fight against organized crime. >> congratulate on --
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[inaudible] >> in the last few years, brave soldiers have given the lack of the country in afghanistan. in the same period of time, 260 for women, british women have been murdered at the hands -- murders perpetrated by men. three quarters were stopped before they were murdered. with the prime minister please give a guarantee that this government will introduce legislation to protect women from that date in the future, particularly given the ease now that stalkers have to begin stocking activity by social media and the internet? >> i'm very grateful for what my honorable friend says coming she's right, stocking is an appalling crime. they can destroy lives and we need to do as much as we can to crack down on. we have of course introduced a new offense to make absolutely
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clear the view that we take it, the new stalking laws are also equally applicable to online cyber stalking and harassment at a grand prosecution service has published guidelines for involving communications set by social media so we tackled this in the online world as well as in the physical world. i'm happy to writer with the details of all the things we are doing and see if there are further steps we can take. >> when the prime minister was asked about a bedroom tax last march he said what we have done is to accept people who need an extra room. now that we know that people with terminal illness who can't share a room, those who have to store equipment such as dialysis machines and families with said their disabled children who need occasional respite are all subject to these conditions tax, would you like to revise that stance and to apologize to disabled people? >> first of all let me repeat,
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this is a basic issue of fairness, people who are renting in the private sector do not get additional money for rooms that they do not use and it's not fair to have a different set of rules to the social sector. but we also have a large discretionary payment system in order to help families like the ones that she mentioned. >> thank you, mr. speaker. does the prime minister agree with me that these increase in jobs or stalking in recent jobs, and the private sector is leading the uk's economic recovery and help if i may say so by the range of engineers, manufactures and retailers, employing people and spending their exports around the world? >> i think the honorable lady is right. we now have 1.6 million new private-sector jobs meaning there are 1.3 million more people employed in our country. we are seeing the growth in
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employment in every region in the country. some are growing faster than others and we need to keep up the work to make sure this is a broadly balanced recovery. one of the indicators of economic success is weakened we got the leader of the labour party comes to an cannot mention implement. he can't talk about the economy. he can't talk about jobs and investment and growth because all of the things he said would never happen are happening in our economy. >> could the prime minister focus on the fact that -- and what capabilities? [inaudible] >> first of all i hope it's not too uncharitable to point out that the contract was awarded by the last labour government.
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and, of course, we are now discussing and debating with a company how they should be taken forward. but the fact is we do need in this country away determining whether people are fit for work or not. when it comes also to the issue of sanctions in our benefit section, it is right that people are offered a job and don't take a job do know face a sanction. i think that would be the choice at the next election. one party in favor of hard-working people, another party obsessed with bigger and bigger benefits. >> britain's armed forces are the best. they defend our interests at home and overseas, and as we're witnessing, taking action in flooded areas. prime minister, please recognize -- stopped sucking four times servicemen and women. >> first of all this giving the opportunity of praising extraordinary will the armed services personnel have played during the floods in our country
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over the past few weeks. it's been extraordinary to see the work. what we have done in terms of defense is removed the 38 billion pounds black hole that we were left. of course, that meant taking difficult decisions including difficult decisions over the size of the army, navy and air force. what we now have is a top five defense budget in terms of spending anywhere in the world. we are coming to the end of all the redundancy schemes so we can now point loudly and proudly to the extraordinary investment that we will be making in the stores, new aircraft carriers come in our submarines, in our aircraft come in the best equipment for any armed forces could have anywhere in the world. >> yesterday i met a 24 year-old man and his work since he was 15 until he lost his job a year ago. he told me he had to resort to going through a supermarket skits to find out the date food just so he can eat.
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prime minister, billy is desperate to work. why won't the prime minister offered a job can get rather than him having to scavenge for food to? >> what we are doing for building and thousands like him is offering jobs and hope that simply were not there under the last labour government. audible members opposite coming week after week to try to say this country is somehow poor are worse off under this government. let me remind her what it was like in 2009 get into thousand nine there were 1 million more people in poverty, 500,000 more children in poverty, 150,000 more unemployed people, and 750,000 more people claiming benefit in 2009 than that were today. so yes there's more to do but with a proud record of giving people jobs and hope because we're sticking to our record. [shouting] >> mr. speaker, just over a week
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ago i joined -- [inaudible] and i as them what they would like to ask the prime minister. one of them said to me he would like to know why the government keeps on making so many new laws the government if the prime minister can tell my young constituent what his administration is doing to reduce the burden of legislati legislation? >> i think he's got a promising future in this place, that's the sort of attitude we need it and i would say to his constituents through him that this is going to be the first government since the war that leaves office at the end of its term with fewer regulations in place and at the beginning. and that is because of the excellent work of the department and the honorable member of done a brilliant job with taking regulation off business so we can create the wealth and jobs that we need. >> the prime minister one of the disappointment the house has
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been -- [inaudible] about the future of the hospital, given it is effective university hospice of the north will take on the whole running of the combined sides. will he accept that the last -- [inaudible] a funding gap of 39 million pounds, 4 million pounds revenue cost and make sure whatever the new arrangements are there will be opportunity to question the government and that these changes will not go through at the expense of the health of the people in the north? >> what i can tell her is a written statement is being made to date about the future of the stafford hospital but it's been a difficult issue to try to do with the appalling situations that we were left in terms of stafford hospital but i'm sure there will be opportunities to debate in this house but i think she will see that what is being proposed are good steps to make sure that a and d. continues as stafford hospitals and hard work to be put in to see that if it is possible in the future to make sure we continue with
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consultant the attorney services so people can go on having their babies delivered in stafford hospital but that's what i want to see them a right angle from the health sector we said at his proposals later and i'm sure there will be opportunities to debate then and, indeed, all the lessons that need to be learned from the failure of stafford hospital in the past. >> thank you, mr. speaker. earlier this month millions were inconvenienced by the pointless underground strike. [inaudible] will my right honorable friend of greed to conduct a review to increase the threshold so that pointless strikes and public services are outlawed? >> i also do you think my friend makes a good point but i think when you see how many people rely on these essential public services, that time is come to look at what changes we can make to see if it is possible to see fewer of the strikes in the future. i think one of the problems we've seen despite repeated requests the party opposite have
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completely refused to condemn what was a totally unnecessary strike. but i don't think we should be surprised because this week and they're all going on a cozy weekend with the trade union masters. we were told they were heading for divorce but i think they're going to renew their vows. [shouting] >> order. >> you on c-span2 will leave the british house of commons now as they move on to other legislative business. you've been watching primus is pushing time aired live wednesdays at 7 a.m. eastern while parliament is in session. you can see this week's question time again sunday night at nine eastern and pacific on c-span. for more information go to and click on c-span series for ranking member heller's questions plus links to international news media and legislatures around the world. you can watch recent data including programs dealing with
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other international issues. >> the new website makes it easier than ever for you to keep tabs on washington, d.c. and share your fines via facebook, twitter and other social networks. easy search functions let you access daily coverage of events, new tools make it simple to great short video clips and share them with your friends via facebook, twitter and other social networks. or you can send links to your video clips via e-mail. just fine share tools on our video player or look for the green icon links throughout our site. watch washington on the new and if you see something of interest, click it and share it with your friends. >> u.s. attorney general eric holder spoke today at a meeting of the national association of attorneys general on the topic of civil rights.
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he discussed the defense of marriage act and the justice department's decision not to defend it in court. he also talks about restoring civil rights and the vote to ex-felons to this is 20 minutes. >> this is pretty impressive. obviously our next guest is a very special guest who we appreciate having your as we always have. i commend general holder for his
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willingness to attend this meeting and to speak to us candidly and openly every year. the fact that our parting gift for general holder when he is here today is going to be a baseball cap i think speaks to how many times you've been there because all the kids we usually give out we've already given to you. [laughter] we're going to actually give you something you might be able to use. but obviously we are all the money with the general holder. he was sworn in as the 82nd attorney general of the united states on february 3, 2000, by vice president joe biden. in 1997, mr. holder was named by president clinton to be the deputy attorney general. prior to that he served as u.s. attorney for the district of colombia. in 1988, mr. holder was nominated by president reagan to become an associate judge for the supreme court of the
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district of columbia. prior to becoming attorney general, mr. holder was a litigation partner in washington. it truly in need is a pleasure imposed up here to address is here again today, general. [applause] >> well, good morning. hello? good morning and thank you for those kind words. we're going high-tech issue. i use the command have my speech but i want to thank you for your dedicated service over a good number of years. we're all wondering what's next. were just talking about that as we're walking through, but thank you for great leadership in wisconsin and your great leadership for this organization. it's a privilege to take part in this important meeting. i'd like to thank naag's leadership team and professional staff for bringing us together this week and inviting me to speak with this distinguished group once again.
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over the past five years, i've been privileged to work closely with many of the attorneys general in this room. some of us have collaborated on cutting-edge public safety and financial crime initiatives. some of us are working together to strengthen our courts and corrections systems and to find innovative ways to reduce costs and share resources. and some of us have occasionally found ourselves on opposite sides of an issue. but despite the differences we've encountered from time to time, as attorneys general, we all share the same set of goals. and we're striving to fulfill the same responsibilities: by protecting the safety of our fellow citizens and the security of our nation; by safeguarding the civil rights to which everyone in this country is entitled; by preventing and combating violent crime, financial fraud, and threats to the most vulnerable members of society; by improving the effectiveness of our criminal justice systems; and by strengthening collaboration among government, law enforcement, and community partners at every level.
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for more than a century, the national association of attorneys general has brought america's leading legal minds together to discuss and advance this work. especially in recent years through sequestration, federal government shutdown, and unprecedented budgetary difficulties, you have shown remarkable leadership in addressing the priorities we share. and that's why i've made it a priority to participate in this organization's conferences since i took office just over five years ago: because, at every stage of my career as a prosecutor, as a judge, as u.s. attorney for the district of columbia, and as deputy attorney general, i've seen the profound, positive differences that state leaders like you can make. and i understand the unique roles you play as the chief law enforcement officers in each of your respective jurisdictions. in so many ways, you and your colleagues are pioneering our broad-based efforts to recalibrate and reform america's criminal justice systems to ensure that 21st century
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challenges can be met with 21st century solutions. you're responding to the same realities that are driving justice department reforms at the federal level by working to break the vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration that traps individuals and weakens communities. and i'm pleased to note that this commitment has, in many places, given way to principled action, and expanded federal-state partnership. in recent years, no fewer than 17 states, supported by the department's justice reinvestment initiative, and led by state officials from both parties, have directed significant funding away from prison construction and toward evidence-based programs and services, like supervision and drug treatment, that are proven to reduce recidivism while improving public safety. rather than increasing costs, a new report, funded by the bureau of justice assistance, projects that these 17 states will save
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$4.6 billion over a 10-year period. and although the full impact of our justice reinvestment policies remains to be seen, it's clear that these efforts are bearing fruit and showing significant promise across the country. from georgia, north carolina, texas, and ohio, to kentucky, arkansas, pennsylvania, hawaii, and far beyond, reinvestment and serious reform are improving public safety and saving precious resources. and i believe that the changes that have led to these remarkable results should be carefully studied and emulated. that's why, last august in a speech before the american bar association in san francisco, i announced a new smart on crime initiative that's allowing the justice department to expand on the innovations that so many states have led; to become both smarter and more efficient when
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battling crime, and the conditions and choices that breed it; and to develop and implement commonsense reforms to the federal criminal justice system. under this initiative, we're ensuring that stringent mandatory minimum sentences for certain federal, drug-related crimes will now be reserved for the most serious criminals. we're taking steps to advance proven reentry policies and diversion programs that can serve as alternatives to incarceration in some cases. and as we look toward the future of this work, we'll continue to rely on your leadership, and close engagement, to keep advancing the kinds of data-driven public safety solutions that many of you have championed for decades. this also means making good on our commitment to provide formerly incarcerated people with fair opportunities to rejoin their communities, and become productive, law-abiding citizens, once their involvement with the criminal justice system is at an end. with the justice department's strong support, the aba has done important work in this regard,
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cataloguing tens of thousands of statutes and regulations that impose unwise collateral consequences related to housing, employment, and voting, that prevent individuals with past convictions from fully reintegrating into society. as you know, in april 2011, i asked state attorneys general to undertake similar reviews in your own jurisdictions, and wherever possible to mitigate or eliminate unnecessary collateral consequences without decreasing public safety. i've made the same request of high-ranking officials across the federal government. and moving forward, i've directed every component of the justice department to lead by example on this issue, by considering whether any proposed rule, regulation, or guidance may present unnecessary barriers to successful reentry. two weeks ago, at georgetown university law center, i called upon state leaders and other elected officials to take these
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efforts even further by passing clear and consistent reforms to restore voting rights to those who have served their terms in prison or jail, completed their parole or probation, and paid their fines. i renew this call today because, like so many other collateral consequences, we've seen that the permanent disenfranchisement of those who have paid their debts to society serves no legitimate public safety purpose. it is purely punitive in nature. it is counterproductive to our efforts to improve reentry and reduce recidivism. and it's well past time that we affirm as a nation that the free exercise of our citizens' most fundamental rights should never be subject to politics, or geography, or the lingering effects of flawed and unjust policies. i applaud those like senator rand paul, of kentucky who have already shown leadership in helping to address this issue. and i encourage each of you to consider and take up this fight in your home states. of course, i recognize that this
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reform, and the other changes we seek, will not be easy to achieve. and none of them will take hold overnight. i know that, as law enforcement leaders, your work has in many ways never been more complex or more challenging. and particularly in this time of budgetary uncertainty, when unwise, across-the-board cuts have impacted federal, state, and local programs we depend upon, you and your colleagues need all the support, and all the resources, you can get. that's why i will never stop fighting to provide the tools and assistance that state and local law enforcement leaders desperately need. and i'm pleased to report that the bipartisan funding agreement recently signed into law by president obama will restore essential funding for a number of key law enforcement priorities by returning the justice department's appropriations to pre-sequestration levels. already, this legislation has enabled us to lift a department-wide hiring freeze that had been in place for just
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over three years, so we can begin to bring on additional federal agents, prosecutors, and other staff to bolster ongoing investigative and enforcement efforts across america. we anticipate that this agreement will also allow us to further invest in the kinds of place-based, intelligence-driven strategies that many of you have proven as effective; to keep offering assistance to states and localities suffering acute crime challenges; and to continue building upon the outstanding work that attorneys general, district attorneys, states' attorneys, u.s. attorneys and others have made possible, despite great adversity, in our ongoing fight against crime, against victimization, and for equal rights and equal justice. this, after all, is the essential duty to which all of us as attorneys general have been sworn: not just to win cases, but to see that justice is done. this is the cause that brings us together in washington this week, working to confront the
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threats and seize the opportunities before us. and this is the extraordinary task with which the american people have entrusted the leaders in this room, and the challenge that all justice professionals are called to address, not merely to use our legal system to settle disputes and punish those who have done wrong, but to answer the kinds of fundamental questions about fairness and equality that have always determined who we are and who we aspire to be, both as a nation and as a people. these are the questions that drove president obama and me to decide, in early 2011, that justice department attorneys would no longer defend the constitutionality of section 3 of the defense of marriage act. as i've said before, this decision was not taken lightly. our actions were motivated by the strong belief that all measures that distinguish among people based on their sexual orientation must be subjected to a heightened standard of scrutiny and, therefore, that this measure was unconstitutional
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discrimination. last summer, the supreme court issued a historic decision united states v. windsor striking down the federal government's ban on recognizing gay and lesbian couples who are legally married. this marked a critical step forward, and a resounding victory for equal treatment and equal protection under the law. more recently and partly in response to the windsor decision a number of state attorneys general, including those in pennsylvania, nevada, virginia and, just last week, oregon, have reached similar determinations after applying heightened scrutiny to laws in their states concerning same-sex marriage. any decisions at any level not to defend individual laws must be exceedingly rare. they must be reserved only for exceptional circumstances. and they must never stem merely from policy or political disagreements, hinging instead on firm constitutional grounds. but in general, i believe we
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must be suspicious of legal classifications based solely on sexual orientation. and we must endeavor in all of our efforts to uphold and advance the values that once led our forebears to declare unequivocally that all are created equal and entitled to equal opportunity. this bedrock principle is immutable. it is timeless. and it goes to the very heart of what this country has always stood for even though, as centuries of advancement in the cause of civil rights have shown, our understanding of it evolves over time. as i said just after the administration's decision on doma was announced, america's most treasured ideals were not put into action or given the full force of law in a single instant. on the contrary, our ideals are continually advanced as our justice systems, and our union, are strengthened. and as social science, human experience, legislation, and judicial decisions expand the circle of those who are entitled
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to the protections and rights enumerated by the constitution. as we gather here in washington today, i believe that our highest ideals, realized in the form of landmark supreme court rulings, from brown to zablocki, from romer to lawrence, from loving to windsor, light a clear path forward. they have impelled us, in some instances, to extraordinary action. and the progress we've seen has been consistent with the finest traditions of our legal system, the central tenets of our constitution, and the fundamental truth that, as president obama once said, when all americans are treated as equal. we are all more free. as we come together this week to renew our commitment to the work we share, to steel our resolve to combat crime, and to pledge our continued fidelity to the values that guide us, and the constitution we've sworn to uphold, we must strive to move our country forward. we must keep fighting against violence, safeguarding civil
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rights, and working to bring our justice system in line with our highest ideals. we must keep refusing to accept a status quo that falls short of that which our constitution demands, and the american people deserve. and we must keep standing up and speaking out, no matter the challenges we face, to eradicate victimization and end injustice in all its forms. this won't always be easy, and occasionally, but inevitably, our tactical paths will diverge. but as long as we are dedicated to working in common cause, determined to disagree with mutual respect, and devoted to our shared pursuit of a more just and more perfect union, i am confident in where our collective efforts, and your steadfast leadership, will take us. i know, as this organization proves every day, that vigorous debate need not be subsumed by partisanship. as attorneys general, we are called to serve. we are expected to lead. thank you, once again, for your work, for your partnership, and
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for the opportunity to take part in this important dialogue. i look forward to all that we'll do and achieve together in the critical days ahead. thanks very much. [applause] >> if everybody could can't just stay in their positions, we are going to just pause briefly to allow the media to get their things together and pack up. [inaudible conversations]
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>> a couple of hearings on c-span3 today. a hearing on sexual assaults in the military, live coverage of the senate armed services subcommittee and personnel beginning at 10 a.m. eastern. you can join the conversation at and on twitter with the #cspanchat. and the senate appropriations subcommittee hearing on alzheimer's disease and its effect on the economy. live coverage begins at 2 p.m. eastern on c-span3 and >> officials from disabled veterans of america testified yesterday at a congressional hearing where they outlined their legislative priorities are 2014. this hearing was continued jointly by the house and senate veterans' affairs committee. it's one hour 40 minutes.
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>> committee will come to order. good afternoon, everybody. thank you for being with us on this wonderful florida, sunshiny day. [laughter] it's my privilege to welcome you to today's joint hearing on the house and senate veterans affairs committees to receive testimony, for the disabled american veterans. before we get started i have a little bit of housekeeping that we need to address and i woulde like to sit in interest of times and in keeping with the tradition of these hearings, efter hearing from myself, liv chairman blumenthal, ranking member, and ranking member heller, i would like to ask allb of the committee members to wave the opening is going to be an opportunity for remarks following testimonyt today. hearing no objection, sounity fo ordered. it's truly an honor for me to be here this afternoon with so many dav members, and i thank you aln
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for coming to the hill onceere again. due to the hard work, dedication of the 1.4 million members, especially dav service officers, veterans are provided with professional benefit counseling and p claims assistance, andssit transportation, to and from the dav also assists with transition assistance services and on car i care come military treatment trn facilities assistance services and on-site care at military treatment facilities, va medical centers and clinics and at home. that's just to name a few of the many programs that you, dav, provides every single day. i've witnessed many of these efforts first hand and i'm personally grateful to each of u for theard wor on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you all for your commitment to our veterans, forr your time dissectin this sectioe
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brave and honorable service to our nation. i now want to take a few moments to welcome several individuals who have transitioned into new leadership roles with the dav. i begin with the national commander joseph johnston who was elected to the position at ddgs 2013 national convention. mr. johnson retired from states armarmy in 1992 and subsequent o his military service has dedicated his efforts towards working with nonprofit organizations. commander johnston, we welcome you here today. >> of the new placements within the professional leadership of dav include navy veteran jay mark burgess and now serves as chief executive officer and army veteran terry augustine is the new veteran director. nice to have you back. marine corps veteran jim marszalek now serves as dav
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national service director and his fellow marine corps veteran, barry janowski leads as executor of her in cold springs, kentucky. good to have you back, too. and with us today is ms. susan miller was elected to the office of national commander of the dav auxiliary. ms. miller previously served as registered nurse with the veterans health administration, and i note that ms. miller's son, trent, is a member of the united states army, recently serving in his second deployment to afghanistan. gentlemen and ms. miller, thank you for your leadership and for your service. i look forward to working with each of you in your new roles, continue to work with those of you that are continuing and the roles that you've had for a number of years but i would also like to recognize the dav members from my home state of
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florida who may be with us today but if you could just raise your hand out so we can say hello. isn't this just like home? this is just like him. [laughter] welcome to those from sunshine state but we are glad to have your. each of you are a credit to our state of florida and to your communities and i'm proud to have you here in your nation's capital. .. capital. thank you for your military service and for our ongoing service to veterans. commander johnston, officers, and members of the dav, you have a tremendous force behind you to accomplish the immense mission that is before each of us. our charge, yours and mine, is to assist and oversee that the department of veterans affairs carries out america's promise to those who have worn the uniform of this country. this includes ensuring that veterans receive timely, accurate, anco

Key Capitol Hill Hearings
CSPAN February 26, 2014 6:00am-8:01am EST

Speeches from policy makers and coverage from around the country.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 16, America 6, Washington 5, Northern Ireland 5, U.s. 4, London 3, Ms. Miller 3, Windsor 3, Wales 3, Miliband 3, Kentucky 3, Florida 3, Heller 2, Angela Merkel 2, Johnston 2, Obama 2, Navy 2, Britain 2, Facebook 2, New C-span 2
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